Talking Point

Should Karren Brady be allowed to negotiate BREXIT?

West Ham Vice Chairman Karren Brady appeared before the London Assembly Budget Monitoring committee at City Hall earlier this week and her performance was impressive.

The Baroness says she finds E20’s match day costs of up to £290,000 per West Ham game quite incredible and she doesn’t understand them.

Brady explained that West Ham’s running costs at the Boleyn Ground before the move were £51,000 per match day including stewarding, police and electricity for the former 35,000 stadium in Green Street. She added even doubling that amount should mean a cost of £102,000 per match day which would be less than West Ham rent for the London Stadium. She says she shared those figures as part of the original tender process. She insisted that West Ham’s rent was not too low at close to £3m per year but the London Stadium running costs were way too high. “I refuse to accept any criticism that our rent is too low, because that is simply not the case. Costs are too high,” Brady said.

Brady claimed she offered free help to the stadium owners 15 times but her offer of advice despite 25 years of running stadia had been refused.

The Baroness also told the London Assembly committee that she has reached an agreement with stadium owners London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) on a suite of disputes yesterday with CEO Lyn Garner the evening before before her appearance at City Hall.

Brady says the LLDC has now agreed that West Ham can rename the London East Stand after a West Ham player thought to be Billy Bonds and there is also an agreement to install a statue at Champions place outside the stadium where the Champions Statue from Green Street was supposed to be moved.

She added that there is now an agreement on a new pitch surround which will be mainly claret with West ham crossed Hammers logos with a small London Stadium dark blue edge to it. The West Ham honours board will also be re-instated after the two sides came to an agreement.

The West Ham Vice-Chairman Karren Brady revealed that West Ham United and E20 Stadium LLP will go to court on the 19th of next month. Brady estimated that both sides had spent around £2m each so far and the matter was unlikely to be resolved out of court at this late stage, adding whoever loses would pay the other’s legal costs.

The court case will centre around the judge’s interpretation of the London Stadium concessionaire agreement signed by both West Ham and E20 Stadium LLP in 2013.

The agreement – which is in the public domain after a freedom of information request – defines the minimum football capacity of 54,000 but is strangely silent on the subject of a maximum capacity despite having over 66,000 seats available in the stadium. The agreement does infer that West Ham has the full use concessionaire areas of the stadium on match days which the club are understood to have interpreted to include all the seats within the stadium.

Brady confirmed that West Ham were forced to take out a legal injunction against London Stadium owners E20 to release information to an FA investigation about the Burnley crowd troubles. Brady explained to London Assembly members that initially E20 refused to hand over information for the FA investigation so the club was force to take them to court and won an injunction against them. The Vice Chairman added that the FA hearing about the Burnley crowd troubles which includes a look at the stewarding provision was being heard this week.

Brady also revealed that West Ham took out a second legal injunction against E20 to stop them installing a second tier of LED adverting at the London Stadium as it wasn’t permitted in the 2013 concessionaire agreement with West Ham. Again the Hammers won the legal injunction and the stadium owners were forced to abandon the installation.

West Ham Vice-Chairman Karren Brady had admitted that the London Stadium with its current contracts would be difficult for West Ham to take over despite saying it is something she would look at.

Finishing her evidence to the London Assembly budget monitoring committee she was asked whether West Ham would be prepared to take over or buy the London Stadium.

Brady replied that the club would need to be really clear how UK Athletics, seat moves, long-term stadium maintenance costs and the operator were factored in to even consider it. Brady said “To be blunt, the reason we fixed our rent as a contribution to the operating costs is we did not want to find ourselves in the same position as E20 now find themselves in. We didn’t want to pick up costs of an operator we have no control over so we made an estimate being £51,000 being the cost at Upton Park”

Brady added “If I put myself in E20’s place and I have to pick up the contracts that they have signed which don’t seem to be very commercially geared in my mind with the operator, with seat moves, with UK Athletics and other users then I think that would be a very difficult situation for anyone to take over”

Karren Brady isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I am glad she is on our side, fighting our corner and negotiating on our behalf.

He is often said she negotiated ‘the deal of century’ for West Ham when signed the agreement for the London Stadium. If that is the case maybe the government should ask her to negotiate BREXIT with the European Union ? ;-)


Talking Point

Cottee and McAvennie to be honoured in race horse

Frank McAvennie and Tony Cottee are looking to become winners all over again after having a horse named after them by an Irons-crazy fan.

CotteeMcAvenniGoal has been sent to top trainer Kim Bailey where he is currently undergoing a “breaking in”  process before he hits the racecourse probably around March or April next year. The final e of SuperMac’s name has been omitted as there is a limit on the number of characters allowed in a racehorse’s name.

Hammer Simon Keane, who bought the horse, said:

“Kim Bailey is one of the few National Hunt trainers to have trained the winners of all three of the top national hunt races, The Champion Hurdle, The Gold Cup and The Grand National. He is a bit like WHU in that he has had his ups and downs but is currently back on the up and his current group of very good horses include Vindication, Red River and First Flow.” Simon got to know Kim through a man called Peter Kerr who organizes and runs syndicates for owners who do not want to purchase horses outright."

Simon approached his two favourite Hammers, Macca and TC with the help of Claret and Hugh who immediately gave him permission to use their names and were delighted to be asked.

Simon said: 

“I am absolutely convinced that WHUFC were the best team in that league in the famous 85/86 season and were only robbed of the title due to the backlog in fixtures. But my overriding memory was the terror that Tony and Frank installed in the opposition with their brilliant and deadly partnership. One thing that has always stuck in my mind was Frank coming back from international duty with Scotland from Australia on a Saturday morning and coming on to score the winner against QPR.   Make no mistake the naming of the horse is a tribute to two fantastic players in a brilliant team.”

Trainer Kim was happy to discuss the three-year-old and said: “He’s a nice looking horse but it’s very early days and is currently being broken in. He will celebrate his fourth birthday on New Year’s Day and like the guys he’s been named after looks very athletic.It’s obviously too early to think in terms of what races he will be entered for as I wouldn’t expect him to be ready for the course until around March or April next year. But his first outing will be in a bumper (a flat race for National Hunt horses) before he is sent over the hurdles, after which we will hope to see him make up into a chaser.”

When Frank McAvenie was contacted he said “I feel honoured that an out and out Hammer should have named his horse after us. I’m not into racing like I once was but this is a terrific thing for the old firm of Frankie and TC. He texted me up and asked permission and I couldn’t have been more pleased to say ‘yes..’ We will be following the horse with terrific interest when he hits the track next year. Kim Bailey is a top trainer so we all have to have high hopes for Cottemacavennigoal. I hope he wins us all a good few quid.”

We also spoke to Tony Cottee who added: "I do feel honoured, as far as I know, I have never had a horse named after me, and to have one with Frank and the aspect of a goal is special, it is a huge honour, I said to Simon keep in touch, keep me up to date and it would be nice to watch it run and maybe it will get a few wins. I do like a day out racing, I go to Cheltenham every year and my dad was a very keen horse racing man so he bought me up with gambling and horse racing.

A bit of background on Ireland based Simon and how he became a West Ham United Supporter in his own words

Simon says:

“In fairness, it is a question that I am often asked when I meet WHU supporters from England. To be honest there is no one answer but I do remember when I started Primary school on my first day my mum produced a WHU bag , how she got it here in Ireland I will never know, so I must have been supporting them then, in 1973. I think the main reason I started supporting them was at the time all my Friends supported Arsenal (Brady, Stapleton and O Leary ) or Liverpool or Man Utd and I just wanted to be different and picked WHU. I also remember when I first saw Sir Trevor Brooking and Billy Bonds play I was transfixed. Sir Trevor had such an effect on me that I remember looking forward more to England matches on TV than Ireland games because in those days it was really the only time I saw anything WHU related on tv. I consider myself extremely lucky that my three children, Sarah (15) , Charlotte (12) and Marcus (10) all support WHU as does my wife Carol who eventually caught the bug. Since starting to support WHU I think my favorite teams were the team that won the cup in 80, the team of ‘86 and the Bilic’s team of the last season at UP. If pushed I would go for the team of 86 because of the other WHU legends like Alvin Martin, Ray Stewart and Alan Devonshire hence the name of the horse had to be related to them.”

Simon’s Interest in Horses in his own words

“Since about 1995/ 1996 I have always had a share in a racehorse and until I got involved with a syndicate run by Peter Kerr these horses were trained by Michael O’ Brien in Beechcourt Stables in Ireland. The best horse I have been involved in with Michael was a horse called Commonchero. He finished second in a grade one at the Punchestown festival and won at least five races. I used to be a regular at the Cheltenham Festival , in fact, I think I attended 18 out of 19 years since 1991, the only year I missed was 1996 when I was in Australia. Those years in the 90’s coincided with a golden period for Kim Bailey and hence I was always aware of what a brillant trainer he is. Like WHU Kim has had his ups and downs and it was only when I was watching racing on tv a few years ago and saw his horse Harry Topper win a big race that I actually thought to myself “that’s nearly 30 years that Kim Bailey has been training winners”. I didn’t think at the time I would ever have a horse in training with him though.”

“About this time last year my wife and I decided to once again have a share in a racehorse and because Irish Racing is currently dominated by Gigginstown ( owned by Michael o Leary of Ryanair fame) and trainer Willie Mullins and it is virtually impossible for a small owner to have a winner we decided to buy a share in a horse that would be trained in England. Kim being the brilliant trainer that he is was always top of the list of English trainers so I looked up his website and this is where Peter Kerr came in. I emailed Peter Kerr, who runs Kim’s ownership syndicates, late one evening looking for information on shares in horses that would be trained by Kim that were available. I honestly thought I would hear back in a day or two but despite it being late at night Peter came back with a detailed response about twenty minutes later. From the first time I spoke to Peter I knew I could trust him and we knew we would have a share in one of his syndicates. Hence we also have a share in a very exciting young horse called Pond Road. While he has never run before I think Kim and Peter like him, but time will tell!”

“Fast forward to March this year and Gold Cup morning and I visited Kim Bailey’s yard in Andoversford to meet with Kim & Peter Kerr and also see Pond Road. I brought along a good friend of mine, Paddy Ryan, who breeds his own horses. As I am not involved in racehorses on a day to day basis I have to rely on the expertise of people I trust. Walking away from our visit Paddy was massively impressed with Kim’s yard and how the horses were not only trained but how well they were looked after. It was driving back to where I was staying that week that I made the decision to try to convince my wife Carol that we should take the plunge and put a horse in training with Kim. I think it is only right to point out that despite only knowing Kim and Peter for about a year I absolutely trust them 100% also which is very important for people like us who want to get into ownership but have no idea of the type of horses to get involved in”

“Luckily it took very little to convince Carol, who lives by the mantra “you only live once” to buy a racehorse. Initially my idea was to buy a racehorse currently in training with another trainer and move him to Kim. Peter Kerr was a great help and in fairness the horses he had picked out have since won but also got withdrawn from the sales so I never had the chance to bid for them. A great friend of mine, Mark MacRedmond , who is a partner in a very large veterinary practice on the Curragh put me in touch with William Flood of Broadsmill Stud who had a three-year-old for sale. For people interested in horse racing William’s stud farm stands brillant stallions Kalanisi ( who sired CotteeMcAvennigoal)Court Cave and Mount Nelson among others. Both my daughter and I spent a wonderful Saturday morning in William’s stud farm about six weeks ago and we came to an agreement re “ The Kalanisi gelding”. Funnily the guy, who I think is John, who led the horse around that morning and my daughter Charlotte talked about potential names and they settled on Wilshere as he was an Arsenal fan and Charlotte is a hammer. I thought to myself “ I will do better than that”

“Now I am a great believer if you’re going to do something you have to do it properly. I asked Kim who would be the best man to break the horse in and do the pre-training and hence CotteeMcAvennigoal is now with a man called Martin Jones. He has been with Martin for about a month now and I would expect that he will remain there for the next 4-6 weeks before going over to Kim’s yard. It’s early days but the reports from Martin to date are positive so the dream lives on, no sign that it is yet a case of “ fade and die”

Approaching Tony and Frank re the name in Simon’s own words

“I wanted to contact both Tony Cottee and Frank McAvennie to in reality get permission to use their names for the horse and tbh I did not even know where to start. This is where the West Ham family kicked in. Last Sunday morning I emailed Nigel to explain what I was trying to do and did he have any ideas on how I would get in contact with Tony and Frank. Ten minutes later Nigel had emailed me back saying he had forwarded my mail to Sean to see what could be done. In another ten mins Sean had emailed me back with both Tony and Franks mobile numbers and within an hour of wondering how I would contact the guys, I had sent a what’s app message to both.”

The Response from Tony and Frank

“Things may not be going well for our current bunch of players on the pitch but from my small interaction with Tony and Frank I can assure you we WHU fans have every right to be extremely proud of the team of 86 if these two great guys are anything to go by. Again within twenty minutes, Tony had responded that he loved the idea and that anything that provided a bit of fun for WHU supporters these days he was fully behind. His only condition was that we kept him up to date of the horses progress and where he would run Lol. Tony said that through his father he had a great interest in racing. He also mentioned that as Frank was at the Celtic Rangers match I might not hear from him until Monday!. But incredibly Frank did come back and gave the idea a massive thumbs up. Again both Tony and Frank were 100% behind the idea of an article on the horse which I personally believe is incredibly generous of them considering that they have never met me or my family.”

The Team of 86 and Naming the Horse

“I am absolutely convinced that WHU were the best team in that league that year and were only robbed of the title due to the backlog in fixtures but my overriding memory was the terror that Tony and Frank installed in the opposition with their brilliant and deadly partnership. One thing that has always stuck in my mind was Frank coming back from International duty with Scotland from Australia on a Sat morning and coming on to score the winner against QPR I think. You might ask him about that when you speak to him. Make no mistake the naming of the horse is a tribute to two fantastic players in a brilliant team.”

“The name was quite simple. When the Kids were growing up during the better weather we would go out to the back garden to play football in the evening. Usually it ended up me and Charlotte versus Marcus and Sarah. Marcus was always his favorite players, Payet or Lanzini, Sarah started as Tomkins but moved to Andy Carroll and We would be either Sir Trevor and Billy Bonds or Cottee and McAvennie. On the evenings we were Tony and Frank I found myself continually repeating CotteeMcAvennieGoal as I scored time and time again against my ten-year-old daughter and five-year-old son!”

As a footnote Tony Cottee messaged Simon saying he’d been playing golf with Tony Gale today and Galey was wondering if Simon could name the next horse GaleMartincleansheets after his and Alvin’s great defensive partnership!


Talking Point

West Ham Podcasts galore as new season approaches

In episode one of season eight of West Ham Podcast MooreThanJustAPodcast Sean Whetstone, Nigel Kahn, George and John Bucci kick off the new season with a season preview discussing the pre-season games where West Ham remained unbeaten in six matches, they discuss and rate the summer transfer business so far as well as rating transfer rumours and news before the windows shuts on Thursday. We have a questions section in from listeners and share our hopes and predictions including next week’s opener at Anfield all at  www.moorethanjustapodcast.co.uk The podcast was recorded on Monday evening.

Available on all popular platforms to listen online or download including Acast, TunedIn, Player.FM and ITunes

The American West Ham podcast team of Tony Clark and Brawley Darbon have also kicked off their second season of Hammers podcasts with a pre-season review with special guests Claret and Hugh Associate editor, Sean Whetstone, Serial ITK blogger and host of West Ham Way Podcast on Phoenix FM @EXWHUemployee plus Hammers Chat founder Gonzo. Tony is Pennsylvania native who started following West Ham United nine years ago while Brawley is a 24-year-old university student who lives and breathes West Ham United. He currently resides in the Metro St. Louis area in Edwardsville, Illinois. Brawley’s dad was born and raised in London.

Listen to their latest episode which is a bumper 2 hours and 42 minutes.

More info at https://americanwesthampodcast.com/

This week’s West Ham Way Podcast is two hours and 36 minutes long recorded just after the transfer window closed on Thursday. The show is presented every week by Dave Walker and Kev Slade from West Ham online fanzine Sex Drugs & Carlton Cole with help from serial ITK blogger Exwhuemployee

Finally the orginal West Ham podcast from the guys over at Stop! HammerTime hosted by Philip Whelans with Jim Grant and Sam Sam Delaney

Thats seven and half of listening overall!


Talking Point

Introducing the Rock

Carlos Alberto Sanchez Moreno is his full name. But when Carlos Sanchez arrived at Aston Villa he was billed simply as ‘The Rock’.

He had a tough time during two years at Villa and it is only his recent presence at the World Cup that has brought a largely forgotten former player back into the headlines.

A red card just 180 seconds into Colombia’s first group game reminded Villa fans of his rashness on the ball. When England took on Columbia it was Sanchez again in the headlines after fouled the England captain Harry Kane during a free-kick to be awarded a penalty against Columbia.

The former Aston Villa man rugby tackled Kane to floor and effectively handed the Spurs striker his sixth goal of the World Cup and the Golden Boot. Sanchez received death threats on social media from his own countrymen after they crashed out of the world cup. Police in Colombia launched an investigation into a series of online death threats made against Sánchez;

It was a chilling reminder of the murder of Andrés Escobar, who was gunned down days after scoring an own goal for Colombia at the 1994 World Cup, several social media users have targeted the former Aston Villa midfielder with vile messages threatening his life. One social media message read: “If Andrés Escobar was killed for scoring an own goal, then Carlos Sánchez should be murdered and his dead body pissed on,”

A carpenter’s son, Sanchez grew up in Quibdo, one of Colombia’s poorest cities, playing football in the streets of his Las Margaritas neighbourhood.

He was 14 years of age before he had the luxury of playing in football boots, having been selected for the Alexis Garcia academy at Medellin.Instead of joining a Colombian club, he moved to Uruguay, playing alongside Edinson Cavani at Danubio and then going to River Plate Montevideo. While there he won his first cap for Colombia before securing a move to Europe at the age of 21 in 2007, joining Valenciennes in France for a six-year spell.

He moved to Elche in Spain for the 2013-14 campaign and helped them stay in La Liga. Sanchez was signed by Paul Lambert in August 2014. It was to be Lambert’s final season at Aston Villa. By then the midfielder was 28. He arrived for a reported fee of £4.7 million, signing a four year contract.

In August 2016, after Villa’s relegation, Sánchez was loaned to Serie A club Fiorentina for a season.  The move was made permanent for £2.7m at the end of the season. In January 2018, Sánchez returned to La Liga on loan to RCD Espanyol for the remainder of the season. Transfer Market values him around £1.8m athough the Sun newspaper claim we could pay as much as £4m.

An aggressive and powerful footballer, Sanchez is active in midfield and can turn defence into attack. What makes Sanchez indispensable to his previous teams is his high-powered work-rate despite his age.

However he described as dangerous, impulsive and risky, all adjectives to describe Sanchez’s tackling. Another problem in Sanchez’s game is his wastefulness in possession.

In front of goal, Sanchez is limited with only seven goals to his name in his nine year career.

At 32 years of age brings a wealth of experience being an integral part of the Colombian national team and playing top-flight European football. Sanchez sacrifices for the team and would be a cheap squad addition to the squad.


Talking Point

Poll: Who should manage West Ham next season?

Who would you like to manage West Ham next season from this shortlist of five candidates?

David Moyes the former Everton, Manchester United and Sunderland manager comes to the end of his six-month contract with a win ratio of 26.32%. He fulfiled his target of keeping West Ham in the Premier League.

Rafa Benitez joined Newcastle after getting sacked by Real Madrid, he previously turned down West Ham in the eleventh hour to take the Spanish champions job. He has a 46.34% win ratio with the Magpies after 82 games in charge with 38 wins, 18 draws and 26 loses to his name.

Unai Emery has the best win ratio in Ligue 1 of any other PSG coach, triumphing in 77.78% of his league matches in charge. Only Blanc has recorded a ratio higher than 70 percent at the club previously. His contract with PSG finishes this summer.

Thomas Tuchel left Borussia Dortmund in 2017 with a record of 68 wins, 23 draws, and 17 defeats in 108 games, with an impressive win ratio of 62.96%.

Marco Silva the former Hull City Watford manager was sacked by the Hornets in January with the club citing the “unwarranted approach by a Premier League rival” that caused “significant deterioration in both focus and results to the point where the long-term future of Watford FC has been jeopardised” He managed a win ratio at Hull of 36.4% and just 30.8% at Watford from his 26 games in charge winning 8, drawing 5 and losing 13.

If you have trouble voting please click HERE

UPDATE: I see some people in the comments are trying to cause a stir by suggesting that Sean posted this poll without my permission. On the contrary. I saw it on C&H and emailed Sean to suggested he cross-posted it here. You’re welcome. ID


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